With summer only JUST around the corner we can’t help but dream of Tash Oakley’s amazing bod and abs! Seriously if you are not familiar with this amazing creature follow her on instagram NOW @tashoakley or just google her. You are bound to feel a huge boost of motivation that’s for sure.
BUT there is no quick fix for a tight and toned stomach. As amazing as it would be, one sit up will not give you a rock hard stomach. Nutrition has a huge impact on the way our stomach looks. If you have tried to get a six pack by doing a silly number of sit ups a day – you are not alone. Although trying to rid yourself of the muffin top by repeatedly doing sit-ups will not get you far, it will give you stronger abs under your muffin top. The truth is that fat loss comes from a whole body workout and a healthy diet, and sit ups are one of the least effective core exercises to choose from.
This is why we prefer the good old much hated plank!! It’s a hate/love relationship but this ab scorching exercise not only targets your lower and upper abs, but your thighs, glutes, shoulders, chest, biceps and back. Overall body work out in the one move? YES PLEASE!!! And the best part about it… you don’t need any equipment and it can be done anywhere. Indoors, outdoors, bedroom floor – you name it, just get planking.
HOW TO PLANK CORRECTLY
Form is the utter most important thing when it comes to exercise and resistance training. Incorrect form can lead to not only injury or strain on the body but also lack of results.
The basic plank is simple; lying on your stomach, position with your elbows bent 90 degrees with both forearms resting on the floor directly under your shoulders, shoulder width apart. Turn on your core by squeezing your stomach muscles and raise your body up onto your toes. Your feet are together with only the toes touching the floor. Your body should form a perfectly straight line from the crown of your head to your heels. Hold this position as long as you can, concentrating on keeping your abdominal and low back muscles tightened to prevent bending at the hips. Draw your belly button in towards your spine and engage your abs. Keep your back straight. Save downward dog for yoga class!! Keep your eyes on the floor roughly 50cms in front of your arms. This will help keep your neck neutral and prevent injuries. YES ugly face pulling is necessary and only means you are working HARD!!
Challenge yourself. If you are new to planking or fitness in general and don’t have a strong core start off with a 30 second time frame. Complete 30 seconds and rest (aka fall to the floor in a heap) and then repeat 2 more times. Do this little set 3 days a week or at the end of your workout and watch those abs slowly appear (obviously not all at once – good things take time)
Record your longest plank hold and store it somewhere you will remember. At the end of “Nutritional November” you can challenge yourself again and see if you are stronger and can hold that little bit longer! Remember form is the most important part about planking so as soon as you feel your hips drop and strain in your lower back – drop to your knees… or fall to the floor and rest!
FUN FACT: The world record for the longest plank is held by Chinese policeman Mao Weidong for a total of 4 hours and 26 minutes!!!! Yep and you thought 60 seconds was tough!!